It’s that time again – the time for people to pretend like they have any actual idea what NFL teams are going to do come draft time. As ususal, a few caveats. First, I’m not going to forecast any trades. The guesses, let’s be honest, that’s what they are, below are based on a scenario where not a single first round pick gets traded. Fat chance, right? Second, these are the picks that I would make as general manager of every team. In some cases it will be best player available, but in most, they design is to fill an area of need. Third, full disclosure, I haven’t seen video of all these players — I’m basing my picks on scouting reports and articles from a variety of sources.
All of that out of the way, let’s begin.
1) Tampa Bay – Jameis Winston, QB, FSU: Since we can’t trade back for ransom of picks to fill a lot of roster holes, we go with the most pro-ready quarterback in the draft. I actually like Mike Glennon more than most, but a chance at a potential franchise quarterback probably shouldn’t be passed up.
2) Tennessee – Leonard Williams, DE, USC: Lots of folks have Mariota here, but I kind of like what I saw last season from Mettenberger. So why not pick an immediate impact player on the defensive line in Williams?
3) Jacksonville – Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama: If you’re going to use a high pick on a qb, like they did with Bortles last year, it’s probably a good idea to surround him with some talent. This could just as easily be Kevin White, as he and Cooper are the consensus top two guys at WR, but I’m going Cooper.
4) Oakland – Kevin White, WR, West Virginia: Derek Carr looks legit, eh? It’s going to be either White, or Cooper if he gets past the Jags. The Raiders are closer to good than you might think. Help on offense is exactly what they need.
5) Washington – Dante Fowler, DE, Florida: This is another situation where I could see a trade back, especially with Mariota still on the board, as the ‘Skins are much more than one player away. But since we can’t trade back, however, Fowler is a monster and this pick is a no-brainer.
6) NY Jets – Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: I think I’m selling out here and deviating from what I told you I was going to do. If Mariota is here, no way he falls beyond the J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS. I’d take Brandon Scherff, personally, but I should also defer to reality from time to time. So here you go.
7) Chicago – Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson: The Bears’ 2014 season was a dumpster fire. With a new coaching staff in place, I think they start the rebuilding with the defense first. And Beasley is a good one.
8) Atlanta – Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa: I wonder how good Matt Ryan could be if he had some proper time to throw every now and then… Scherff is the best offensive lineman in the draft, and would instantly fill a big need in Atlanta.
9) NY Giants – Trae Waynes, CB, MSU: The second best corner in the draft (Peters is better, but more of a potential headache) is still plenty good, and the Giants, while probably annoyed they won’t get Scherff, get a nice consolation prize to start plugging a leaky secondary.
10) St. Louis – DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville: I don’t think WR is overly pressing for the Rams, but Parker could be this year’s Odell Beckham. That supercedes other needs.
11) Minnesota – Jaelen Strong, WR, ASU: Teddy Bridgewater was pretty good without the benefit of a good receiving corp, not to mention no AP. You must think he’ll improve massively in year two with an improved weapons cache on offense, right?
12) Cleveland – Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF: Blah blah blah. Josh Gordon. Blah blah blah. Breshad Perriman is fast. Kidding aside, Cleveland has a good defense, and no real weapons to speak of on offense. That has to change if they’re going to compete.
13) New Orleans – Shane Ray, DE, Missouri: I’m gonna be honest here. I have no @#$%ing clue what New Orleans is doing with their off-season. But Shane Ray is good, and they could use a good pass rusher.
14) Miami – Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin – In the new line of thinking permeating the NFL, running backs are no longer shoe ins for first round picks. But screw that, really. I don’t think Lamar Miller is terrible, but top teams have better number one backs, so he completely fits here.
15) San Francisco – Danny Shelton, DT, Washington – It might be a long year in San Francisco. They need help at linebacker desperately with Willis and Borland retiring, but they’re all reaches here. Shelton can fill the Ray MacDonald hole on the defensive line.
16) Houston – Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest – I confess, I don’t really know what to do here. But with a defensive line that figures to cause plenty of hurried throws from opposing quarterbacks, a very good cornerback makes a lot of sense.
17) San Diego – Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia – Hand, meet glove. Big need, great player available, it makes sense.
18) Kansas City – Cameron Irving, C, FSU – Rodney Hudson left, so there’s a need. Irving is a bit of a reach here, but in this case a justified one. Irving would do fine at guard too if they go a different direction at center.
19) Cleveland – Malcom Brown, DT, Texas – Man, it was tempting to go with Garrett Grayson here. They might also go receiver, but Brown makes sense as an addition to a solid run defense.
20) Philadelphia – D.J. Humphries, OL, Florida – We all saw what DeMarco Murray could do behind Dallas’ excellent offensive line. It stands to reason that Chip Kelley will start trying to build one of those himself. Also, when new quarterback Sam Bradford has had good protection, he’s been reasonably good. So there’s that.
21) Cincinnati – Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska – I avoid guys with weed issues like the plague, but at a certain point, a guy who is a top 5 talent has to get taken. Gregory will either get his crap together and become an instant impact player, or he’ll become a cautionary tale. But at the 21st pick, it makes sense for Cincy to find out which.
22) Pittsburgh – Landon Collins, S, Alabama – Collins isn’t great in coverage, but if we’re being honest, it’s not a skill the now retired Troy Polamalu was known for either. Foot, meet shoe.
23) Detroit – Marcus Peters, CB, Washington – It was tempting to go defensive line here after the Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley departures, but 23rd is a good position to take a chance on a troubled but potentially game-changing defensive back. For what it’s worth, Peters has owned his immaturity and petulance publicly. Saying the right things and doing them are not one and the same, but in some cases it does work out that way.
24) Arizona – Bernardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi St. – I nearly went Phillip Dorsett here, but Arizona has a defensive identity I like McKinney being a part of. The secondary is very strong here, and adding to the linebacking corp just makes a tough unit even tougher.
25) Carolina – La’el Collins, OT, LSU – That division was awful last year, but hey, someone had to win it. Want to know what else was awful? The Panthers’ offensive line. Collins is not a finished product but the upside is very real.
26) Baltimore – Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami – Torrey Smith is gone, Steve Smith Sr. is old (but still decent). Joe Flacco needs targets. Dorsett is a legitimate deep threat and Flacco has the arm. Most mocks have Dorsett going in the second round, but not this one as it turns out.
27) Dallas – Bud Dupree, OLB/DE, Kentucky – Dupree is way better than this position, I just couldn’t find a home for him earlier. Dallas would be thrilled if he fell to them. Their defense wasn’t as awful as predicted, but that doesn’t mean they can’t use a little help.
28) Denver – Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford – The offensive line really ended up being their undoing last season, I think. Peat is more of a smart blocker than a mauler, and unless I’m way off on how the Broncos’ blocking philosophy works, this is a great fit.
29) Indianapolis – Eli Harold, LB, Virginia – The Colts have to get serious about their defense. They have more needs than just one, but Harold is an impact pass rusher immediately, and if developed properly, could become a star.
30) Green Bay – Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami – I think Aaron Rodgers makes his offensive line look better than they are. If they continue to improve that unit, they can run Eddie Lacy more and really let Rodgers go to work. He’s unstoppable when he has time.
31) New Orleans – Devin Funchess, TE, Michigan – Funchess is more of a wide receiver than a tight end, much in the same way that Jimmy Graham is. Speaking of Graham, didn’t he get traded? Opening up a spot??? Just sayin’…
32) New England – Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska – I gave some serious consideration to Laken Tomlinson here. He’s NFL ready. The Pats could use a solid guard. But they could also use an explosive running back. Stevan Ridley is gone, Shane Vereen is more of a third down back, albeit a great one. And I don’t know any coach who would feel great about Jonas Gray or LeGarrette Blount being the lead back in week one.
So, how did I do? Did your team get the guy you want? Feel free to let us know. You can follow us on Twitter at @thestainsports.